Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wish Me Well...

Tomorrow morning I have an interview with a woman who represents multiple federal agencies. She is booked most of the day, but I was fortunate to secure a spot. The interview (if I perform well) will increase my chance of acquiring a coveted internship or job this coming summer. I got my suit all lined up (had to dust it off - hard to believe I haven't worn it since June!) and even took a shower. Kidding (I take two showers a day.)

My previous job had me interviewing students, now the tables are turned and I'm in the hot seat. Kind of nerve-wracking, not gonna lie....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Column

Once again, I post the link to my latest column. As you can see, somehow people are enraged at this topic. Can't wait until I actually begin writing controversial columns...If you'd like to comment or if you like it (you can click on like at the bottom), please let me know. This is a topic I have written about before on here....

http://www.theeagleonline.com/opinion/story/pondering-the-dangers-of-wireless/

Also, as I'm always searching for new ideas/topics, you can comment here if there's anything you'd like to read....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Riddle...



Finding me is a futile attempt,
All come up empty, none exempt,
Still many search high and low,
Flocking to the next gimmicks show,

Although I'm a pertinent question,
No clue points in the right direction,
And those who claim to have me solved,
Are nothing but a major fraud,

What am I???

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Movie Review, "Wall Street 2"

Sequels rarely live up to the lofty standards of originals. Expectations are too high, the characters grow stale, and to compensate writers create cluttered scripts that overstretch trying to accomplish too much. Wall Street 2 doesn't disappoint in that regard but the rest of this wretched film is truly disappointing. To put it mildly.

Shia LaeBouf's acting makes Keanu Reaves look expressive. He's too young for the role, and the depth and aptitude demanded of him at such a young age doesn't fit this hobbledehoy. Don't forget, this is the dude from Transformers and Nickelodeon. The role required someone with piercing gravitas, like Leo DiCaprio or a young Ben Affleck. This error alone taints the film significantly.

Michael Douglas delivers a typical performance shining brightest when he's at his despicably worst. Unfortunately we only see his nefarious side toward the end and by that point, we've all but lost hope. Josh Brolin is the unsung hero of the movie, and that high point is equivalent to a speed bump.

The plot picks up approximately 8 years after Gekko is released from prison. While he's away, his daughter blossoms into a liberal blogger and is infatuated with LaeBouf, a mini replica of her father. Their chemistry is largely unseen as the women in the film are stereotypically emotional and underdeveloped. LaeBouf's mentor off's himself after the sudden plummet of his stock and LaeBouf seeks revenge on the man responsible for the banks demise. Meanwhile, LaeBouf befriends Gekko in hopes of reconciling his fiancee and his future father-in-law. A few sub-stories are within but are hardly worth mentioning (except for a shot out to green techonology).

Channeling the original, Shia seeks a job with his nemesis to extract his revenge. However, his efforts are thwarted by a hot temper after a brief stint on the job. I don't want to play spoiler in case you may see it (you shouldn't), but the rest is a bunch of emotional moments tied disjointingly together.

Perhaps the only bright spot in the film is the cinemetography.

Leaving the theater I almost asked for a refund. I expected this film to be a zeitgeist story, detailing the financial crises in layman's terms for the average bloke to grasp. Instead, the economic gobbledygook is thrown around so casually, that it's doubtful the writers themselves didn't research credit-default swaps and derivatives. Should've hired Matt Taibbi as a consultant.

Our country is seeking a narrative to conceptualize the sensational damage caused by the major investment and commercial banks. We're all pissed off, but instead of learning how to prevent the incident from repeating, we're fleeing to the inchoate Tea Party. Tea, the sophisticated drink, now being served for morons. We should be mad. We were robbed and then sold at gunpoint our own wallets back. But we're kept in the dark about how we were robbed in the first place and how the culprit seems as invincible as the girl with the dragon tattoo.

Sadly, this film doesn't dig into the anger Americans feel. Instead of engaging the audience, empowering us with knowledge and channeling our disgust, we're left feeling empty and scammed again. In this seemingly never-ending recession, where many Americans are making abysmal wages, forced into furloughs, and working multiple jobs they're overqualified for, we deserved better. We deserved a fiction that brought to life the evil empire that has become Wall Street. This movie was an objective bust.

Another regretful investment for Americans...the price of admission.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Self-Made

What does it mean to be American? What is our culture? Do we even have one? With all the diversity and geographic space is it safe to say there are multiple American cultures?

A few common threads can be seen between the oceans if we look closely. First, self-reliance. Independence. Competition. Individual achievement. Our Calvinistic society demands that we just do it (as Nike says). Don't just stand there, do something. Our personal achievement or failure rests upon our individual output. Effort in equals results. As my Mom always says, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

What's fascinating is how many self-proclaimed self-made people decry others for their inability to achieve financial success. The mantra is simply, well, if I can do it, why can't you? I didn't have any help, I worked my butt off for what I got, surely they can do the same.

And for some that's undoubtedly true.

But many are often forgetful or oblivious to the indirect or direct assistance they received during their journey. My Pops used to tell stories growing up about this. He worked his butt off to get to the financial emancipation he maintains today, but he is quick to acknowledge the mentors and partners who helped steer him the right direction. And to my knowledge, he's repaying that debt by mentoring many of his younger friends.

However, many folks (mostly conservatives I might add) either refuse to view any assistance as substantial enough to be relevant or frankly don't believe they had any at all. But they did. We all do. And it's imperative we remember that no matter how poorly things were and how luxurious they are now, we all got a boost here and there.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Column

It occurs to me I have neglected to copy the link to the columns I've been writing for my school newspaper.

The link for the one that came out today is: http://www.theeagleonline.com/opinion/story/calling-foul-on-maintaining-the-status-quo/

The main page is: http://www.theeagleonline.com/

If you scroll down, you can view the gratuitously positive feedback I've received thus far (in older columns) :). If you click on my name, past columns come up. Since I always receive such pleasant feedback from you guys, perhaps you would like to comment on this other forum as well? Up to you, some of you get enough of my yakking here, but if you'd like to read more, make sure you check it out and of course, I appreciate your time and feedback, positive or not. In order to post comments, you have to create an account (with Google, or Yahoo, etc.) which doesn't take more than a couple minutes (or if you already have either, then it's even easier).

Anyway, just a quick note for some more material, as I know posts are slow this month...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Concert...

25 years I've lived through and I'm yearning for more! Yesterday was of course, my birthday, many thanks for your comments and thoughts. I spent the majority of the day in a drunken stupor at the HFStevial, which is a large concert in the suburbs of Maryland. The headliner's were popular 90's rock bands such as Everclear, Fuel, Naughty by Nature, Third Eye Blind and POTUS. Despite all the tatted up tools strutting around instigating fights and the recruitment by the Marines and National Guard the concert was an overwhelming success.

Afterward, took a shuttle to a hotel and coincidentally the bands were all staying there. I would like to share something cooler, like I stayed up all night partying with the guys, swapping stories and sampling LSD, but that would be an understatement. Kidding. I did thank the dudes for putting on a great show and hung out in the lounge for a half hour just to feel connected to the vibe. And for the free popcorn.

It was nice to have a hedonistic weekend dedicated to celebrating and not homework.

But that just means Monday is gonna be a looooonnnngg day....

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Updated

So the race is over and Mayor Fenty is no more. Well, he still exists and has to finish his term, but his current campaign failed to alleviate the resentment from burned voters; angry over his arrogance and surliness. Mr. Results isn't as essential as Mr. Nice Guy D.C. voters express. And now we're left with an ancient owl to guide this city, hopefully continuing many of the positives Fenty implemented.

Under the supposition the voters ousted Fenty solely over his attitude, they made a big mistake. Politicians shouldn't be elected for their kindness. In many professions, kindness is an vital attribute, but politicians (while being nice can assist in negotiation) should focus on addressing the many challenges our society faces. And the way we can monitor their progress is through the results and through our votes. I mean, if we're looking for Miss Congeniality, let's just watch Miss Universe.

Politics is a contact sport. Especially in a city as diverse and geographically important as D.C. In order to be successful, you have to make a few enemies. And one of the few scandals Fenty was involved with had to do with adding more parks to the city. Many speculated his buddies were handed generous contracts by the district, which may very well be true...but how about an applause for a politicians for wanting to build more parks!!! Could've been conservative think-tanks or nuclear power plants under someone else.

Moreover, not everyone is nice. In fact, I often have more respect for people who are edgier than cordial folks. A) Because many nice people come off as fake (and many are fake). B) Being nice is common. C) I can respect a social critic for their intellect and opinions. D) Edgy people are exciting and memorable. This is not to say I don't respect kind people (I respect everyone), I just have an affinity for those more like Seinfeild, because I can relate to their genetic makeup.

We're not all hard-wired to be kind. Our actions speak louder than words. And although I don't blanketly agree with all of Fenty's actions as Mayor, I do believe his actions prove him a good man. And to me, I'll take a politician with results and good intentions, than a prosaic, nice man who won't say no to anyone.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Does Nice Count??

Today was the mayoral primary for D.C. a big day in politics in the city. Can't drive more than fifty meters without seeing a sign for Gray or Fenty. Fenty, the incumbent, is a young man who has served this city well over the past 4 years. The District has objectively improved under his leadership in many areas and almost all voters approve of the results he's produced. In fact, so does the opposition.

Only problem is he's an a@#hole.

While the results aren't completely tallied, his seat is in jeopardy and in fact, he's become the underdog fighting for his political life. Early numbers look grim.

I personally like Fenty. He's an avid runner (really fast 18 minute 5-k's), and he's present at many major and non-major events. He's got style and he's hip and it's nice to see D.C. run by someone young, vibrant, hard-working and athletic. I've met him once at a road race briefly, and he even showed up once on Thanksgiving morning to support a run benefiting the city's homeless. He also was instrumental in dedicating a street for a long-serving barber I frequent in Dupont Circle who styles the hair of Supreme Court Justices, Ambassadors and politicians (and other cool people like me).

His opponent is running his campaign as the nice alter ego of Fenty. Gray is entrenched in the scene and is endorsed by almost the entire city council. (Fenty made some enemies withholding baseball tickets from council members). It's hilarious to listen to the dynamic of this race. Fenty's personality defect is costing him his job, even though he excels at it.

So, is being a nice mayor important? More important than empirical results? Do you need to have both to be successful?

I don't think so, do you???

Monday, September 13, 2010

Riddle...


Never one to boast or brag,
always polite after it's in the bag,
did you see that!? Is what you'll say,
at times flashy, but in good taste,

Lately I'm an indomitable force,
Swoosh you'll see on my shirt,

Who am I???

Friday, September 10, 2010

XM Radio


My favorite thing about my car is XM radio. My trial account expires soon (hint, hint, birthday) (cough, parents) and I may go through withdrawals without it. Any music my heart desires I can find instantly. Any news, sports or weather, same thing. But what stands out most is the abundance of talk stations I've found. And the 5 comedy channels aren't bad either. 

My new favorite, is a channel run out of NYU's medical school. They have a rotation of doctor's throughout the day who discuss medical issues. You can phone in and discuss your ailment and they give you fairly generic, albeit pertinent advice. Today's topic was on the medical response the day of 9/11 and how the EPA cleared the air quality for aid workers. When in reality, the air quality was abysmally poor and lungs of servicemen and nurses and doctors have suffered immensely from its effects.

One of my other favorites is a channel that plays rap in the mornings, followed by intellectual issues in the evening. The host focuses on black people and the discrimination they encounter today. I phoned in the other day to discuss an incident I experienced a few years back. The topic was the 'n' word, what it means and who should use it. 

My story: I was driving the streets of Phoenix searching for an outdoor pick-up game around dusk. I pulled up to Cactus Park off Scottsdale Road and found a pretty decent 3 on 3. It was diverse, a group of young black men, a few older white dudes, and even a few Hispanics. I hopped on a team with an obese white guy about 40 years old. He was only 6 feet tall but he played center. Mostly because he was immobile like the basket, but that's beside the point. During the game we competed against the group of young black players. 

Out of nowhere he starts calling one a nigger. Don't know why. Don't know what provoked this invective. He just spat it out. 

I was shocked, but didn't intervene, hoping things would pacify and we would move on. I was right, but not because he ceased the name calling. In fact, he increased it for the next 20 minutes or so as our team continued to dominate the court. 

Then, a few muscular black men in their 30's arrived. And the expletive laced gasconading ceased immediately. 

When I called the show, I asked the hosts whether or not I should have ratted out the white guy on my team to the new black guys. The young players were bullied off the court, but the new ones had no clue what had just transpired. As a pacifist, I didn't want to physically intervene, though I felt somewhat of an accomplice for my passivity. What would you have done? 

If you want to know what the hosts said, ask me in comments, or else listen to some XM. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guys and Gals


Two guys who haven't seen one another in awhile will almost always posture and tease. We'll say things like, dude, your hairline is looking a bit like Jude Law. Or, gain a few pounds, or have you just been to London? Mind you, this conversation is between friends. It's in our inherent nature to compete and assert our dominance, even if it's subconscious and harmless.

Two gals who haven't seen one another in awhile will almost always flatter each other, sincerely or otherwise. They'll say things like your dress is amazing, where did you get it? Or girl, you're just like Benjamin Button aren't you? They're affection is generous and kind. It's in their nature to place a premium on relationships and putting someone down greatly negates that notion.

After the dialogue, a man meets up with his girlfriend for dinner. After they exchange typical politesse, they both have news to share. Guess who I bumped into today says the man. Who? Remember my buddy Mark, they guy I used to play tennis with on Sunday's? Sure. Ya, well, what a cool guy he is, he's running this NGO now and he looks trim. He moved a few miles away, but we're gonna hit some balls again next week. Very cool, says the girlfriend. Guess who I ran into today says the girl. Who? Samantha, you know the girl with absolutely no clue how to dress? Sure. She looks like she hasn't been working out, she's gained a few pounds. I didn't mention anything of course, but it was fairly obvious.

I'm generalizing of course, but there's an opposite relationship between how men and women approach social interactions. Women are much more likely to be complimentary face-to-face, but caddy and critical behind close doors. I can recollect many occasions where this has been true. Men, tease their friends and put each other down slightly face-to-face. Sure it's done with a grin, but nonetheless they're insults. When they share that experience with a woman (or even other men) they're often complimentary and boast about their friends successes.

Has this been true in your own life? Or has grad school devoured my syntax's?  

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quarter Century...

Just an announcement. So you can beginning procuring presents now. I turn 25 on the 18th....
25......